More portrait news: Rupert Featherstone, the director of the Hamilton Kerr Institute in Cambridge, and a supporter of the claim that the Cobbe portrait is Shakespeare, claims that the restorers who removed a layer of paint in 2002 may have destroyed a representation of the aging Shakespeare painted during his lifetime.
The Janssen portrait in the Folger similarly had a layer of paint removed during a restoration in 1988. In the Janssen portrait, the restoration revealed a full head of hair underneath Shakespeare’s baldness. In the Cobbe portrait, The Telegraph reports, “the sitter was given a bouffant hairstyle. It is possible the Earl may have wanted a more flattering image.” Featherstone thinks that the portrait may have been altered as soon as a few months after it was painted.